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It's been a bit hectic since we came back from Easter break with my family. We were able to really enjoy the Spring in full swing in Virginia, colors of all shades of pink, white, yellow, purple and this green. Amazing. The kids enjoyed their playtime with cousins whom they don't really see as often as we would all like. So I have this cute story about my nephew who is such a firecracker. He asked his mom why she doesn't stand at the toilet like he does, and she explained to him the different parts for boys and girls. Later, as he was playing by himself, he said: " I am boy cauth I have a pancake!!". My sister-in-law couldn't keep from laughing out loud, and so did I when she told me. It makes me giggle even now.
Back to the recipe. I love this dish, so fresh and flavorful and most importantly easy. This is a spin off of a classic in Lebanon, Samakeh Harra or Spicy Fish. A whole fish that is rubbed with various spices and stuffed with a mixture of nuts and herbs and a lot of garlic. It is sometimes also drizzled with Tahini Sauce. It's absolutely phenomenal. This version is still as good but I enjoyed the freshness of the green salsa instead of baking it with the fish.
For this dish, you can use a whole fish, like this beautiful Pompano or any fillets of your choice. Once the fish is cleaned. Rub with the fennel, mustard and mastic spice mix, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake at 400º F. Cooking time will vary depending on size of fish or fillet. When it flakes to the touch, it's done.
While fish is baking. Prepare the green salsa by combining all the ingredients together and tossing lightly to incorporate the flavors. This salsa is also great with a grilled steak or crab cakes.
I hope you're enjoying your Spring, I know I am, this is my favorite time of year.
Spice Mix for Fish
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp mastic
Grind together with a mortar and pestle and sprinkle over fish.
Spicy Green Salsa
1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
1 cup green grapes, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1 Jalapeno, diced
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste